Maya Angelou: Interpretation of Poetry

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Maya Angelou
Dr. Maya Angelou, born April 24, 1928, was a phenomenal poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist known as one of the greatest voices of renaissance. She experienced harsh racial discrimination throughout her lifetime, and yet in the midst of her trials she never loses self-respect or confidence. Through her powerful delivery of words she dually embodies her captivating personality and demeanor. Altogether, her works are representations of who she is and what she believes in. Sandra Cookson is the author of an article featured in World Literature Today, published by the University of Oklahoma, who does a wonderful job of illuminating Angelou's impactful messages that lie within her poem "Still I Rise". In addition, Kelly Holland Cecil, a student who attended University of North Carolina in 1998, conducted a thorough analysis on many of Angelou's Poems. Cecil provides a door of understanding as she analytically goes into depth on explaining Dr. Angelou's poem, "Phenomenal Woman". Through careful study and analysis of Angelou's poetry followed by research obtained from research an understanding of who she was and the message she was trying to get across may be developed.

To begin with, Angelou believes that being "phenomenal" does not come from the beauty that is accepted from others but from one's genuine uniqueness. The persona in "Phenomenal Woman," portrays a strong, proud woman of modesty and humility which is undoubtedly Angelou. She displays this in the first line of the poem, when she says "Pretty women wonder where my secret lies." The auditor purposely separates herself from the "in-crowd", which in this case is "pretty women." Thus, suggesting that she does not even consider herself as attractive. Then, in line 2 she reassures the auditor of her disposition when she writes "I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size." After initially reading these first...
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